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Task-Based Language Teaching

TaskTask-Based Language Teaching

? ? ? ? What is task? Why should we be task-based? How to be task-based? Examples of tasks

What people do in everyday li

painting a fence, dressing a child, filling out a form, buying a pair of shoes, borrowing a library book taking a driving test making an airline reservation writing a check finding a street destination,

? posters, letters to penfriends, pool information on everybody’s birthdays and produce a poster to be kept in the classroom. ? Make a plan for a school outing and carry out plans and go on an outing. ? Carry out a class survey on ‘who does the housework at home?’

What is Task-Based Language TaskTeaching
? Focuses on the construction, sequencing, and evaluation of particular goal-related action complexes that learners carry out either by themselves or jointly.

? The task-based approach aims at providing opportunities for the learners to experiment with and explore both spoken and written language through learning activities which are designed to engage learners in the authentic, practical and functional use of language for meaningful purposes.

? 任务就是人们在日常生活、工作、娱乐 活动中所从事的各种各样有目的的活动。 所谓任务型语言教学,其核心思想就是 要模拟人们在社会、学校生活中人们运 用语言所从事的各类活动,把语言教学 与学习者在今后的日常生活中的语言应 用结合起来。任务型语言教学把人们在 社会生活中所做的事情细分为若干非常 具体的“任务”,并把培养学生具备完 成这些任务的能力作为教学目标。

? A task is an activity that learners engage in further the process of learning a language. Williams and Burden (1997)

features of a task
? A task is a work plan – a plan for learner activity. ? A task involves a primary focus on meaning. ? A task involves real-world processes realof language use.


A task engages cognitive processes such as selecting, classifying, ordering, and evaluating information in order to carry out the task. ? A task has a clear defined communicative outcome (not necessarily linguistic). ? A task can involve any of the four language skills.

? Task maybe carried out individually or ( more often) in groups ? The outcome maybe something concrete (e.g. a report or presentation ) or something intangible ( e.g. an agreement or the solution to a problem) ? The objective may be language focused, e.g. to discover a rule of grammar or complete an exercise, or content-focused, e.g. to carry out a project or reach a decision through discussion


? 1. “Practice makes perfect” does not always apply to learning grammar---‘practice makes permanent’( new version)

? They( students) often fail to use it correctly when expressing themselves freely. This temporary mastery seems to happen when they are paying conscious attention to form, but not when they are trying to communicate and paying attention to meaning.

? Knowledge of grammatical rules was no guarantee of being able to use those rules for communication. Learners who were able to identify instances of rule violation, and who could even state the rule, frequently violated the rules when using language for communication.

? (in research) Learner participation in class is related significantly to improvements in language proficiency.

3. ? Language learning is to use language to perform certain tasks (use language to do things). Language is acquired as learners actively engaged in attempting to communicate in the target language. Acquisition will be maximized when learners engage in tasks that “push” them to the limits of their current competence.

4. constructivism
? Learners learn what is meaningful to them ? Learners learn in ways that are meaningful to them ? Learners learn better if they feel in control of what they are learning ? Learning is closely linked to how people feel about themselves ? Learning takes places in a social context through interaction with other people

What are not tasks?
? 1 不 让 学 习 者 只 是 鹦 鹉 学 舌 (do not give other people’s regurgitate) people s meaning to regurgitate) ? 2 不 是 为 了 显 示 语 言 的 技 能 (are not concerned with language display) ? 3 不是墨守成规与人雷同的 (are not conformityconformityoriented) ? 4 不 是 为 了 做 机 械 性 的 操 练 (are not practicepracticeoriented) ? 5不是为了学习某些句型结构硬把语言安排到材料之 中 (do not embed language into materials so that specific structures can be focused upon)

Three Pedagogical Goals for TaskTask-based Approaches
? Accuracy 准确程度
? Accuracy concerns how well language is produced in relation to the target language

? Complexity 综合程度
? Complexity concerns the elaboration or ambition of the language which is produced. How far do learners rely on prefabricated phrases and established routines, and how far do they need to expand their language resources to meet the communicative challenge?

? Fluency 流利程度
? Fluency concerns the learner’s capacity to produce language in real time without undue pausing or hesitation. It is likely to rely upon more lexicalized modes of communication, as the pressure of real time speech production are met only by avoiding excessive rule-based computation

Principles in designing tasks
? 1. authenticity principle:
? The linguistic data that learners work with are authentic.

FormForm-function principle
Teaching language in ways that make form and function relationships transparent 任务的设计注重形式和语言功能的结合。旨 在使学习者掌握语言形式的同时,培养其自 我把握语言功能的能力;每一阶段任务的设 计都具有一定的导入性,学生在学习语言形 式的基础上,通过系列任务的训练,能够自 己进行推理和演绎,从而理解语言的功能, 并在交际中进行真实运用。

task dependency principle
A series of tasks in a lesson or unit of work forms a kind of pedagogical ladder, each task representing a rung on the ladder, enabling the learner to reach higher and higher levels of communicative performance. 学习单元中任务的设计由简到繁,由易到难, 层层深入,并形成由初级任务向高级任务以及 高级任务涵盖初级任务的循环。在语言技能方 面,遵循先听、读,后说、写的设计顺序,使 教学阶梯式地层层递进。

Learning by doing
Learning by doing motivates students to fulfill their potential. Learners master the language by using it communicatively in the classroom, although they still have to learn grammar and memorize vocabulary. 自始至终引导学生通过完成具体的任务活动 来学习语言,让学生为了特定的学习目的去 实施特定的语言行动,通过完成特定的交际 任务来获得和积累相应的学习经验。

Criteria for good tasks: 1 enable learners to manipulate and practice specific features of language 2 allow learners to rehearse, in class, communicative skills they will need in the real world 3 activate psychological/psycholinguistic processes of learning 4 be suitable for mixed ability groups 5 involve learners in solving a problem, coming to a conclusion

6 be based on authentic or naturalistic source material 7 involve learners in sharing information 8 require the use of more than one macroskill 9 allow learners to think and talk about language and learning 10 promote skills in learning how to learn 11 have clear objectives stating what learners will be able to do as a result of taking part in the task 12 utilize the community as a resource

13 give learners a choice in what way they do and the order in which they do it. 14 involve learners in risk-taking 15 require learners to rehearse, rewrite and polish initial efforts 16 enable learners to share in the planning and development of the task 17 have built into them a means of evaluating the success or otherwise of the task

Components of a task cycle
? Pre-task ? Task cycle ? Language focus

? Introduction to the topic and task: ? Teacher explores the topic with the class , highlight useful words and phrases, helps students understand task instructions and prepare

Task cycle
? Task ? Planning ? report

Language focus
? Analysis ? practice

Six kinds of tasks
? ? ? ? ? ? Listing Ordering and sorting Comparing Problem solving Sharing personal experiences Creative tasks


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